A brief overview of Kalabaka town
Kalabaka (also spelled Kalambaka or Kalampaka) town has a population of 12,000 citizens and is situated on the foothills of an extraordinary geological phenomenon, the giant cliffs of Meteora. For thousands of years, people found refuge on the steep cliffs of Meteora and in the surrounding area. An ideal place to survive since people would be able to find clean water, an abundance of food sources and shelter. In prehistory, the oldest known human settlement in the area dates back to 130,000 years and was found in the prehistoric cave of Theopetra. Just 4km away from the modern town of Kalabaka.
The history of the town began more than 3.000 thousand years ago, reaching all the way back to the borderline between the mythological age and history! A Greek inscription on the wall of one of the town’s old church (Saint John the Baptist) testifies the existence of an ancient Greek settlement under the name Aiginion, thriving during the 4th century BC. Relics of an ancient Greek temple – probably of god Apollo – of that same period have been incorporated in the wall of the town’s oldest and most renowned 10th-century church, dedicated to the Assumption of Virgin Mary. Historical records refer to the town’s Byzantine name as Stagi when it had become a significant center of the Byzantine Empire.
Its modern name originates from the Turkish words kale-bak (prestigious castle), deriving from the days of the dominion of the Ottoman Empire. During the German Occupation of Greece (1941-1944), Kalampaka was burnt down by the German army in 1943 and then rebuilt. That’s why the town even though that has such a long history it looks fairly modern. In modern times the town has grown a lot, as the population has more than doubled, becoming an important population center in the prefecture of Trikala.
Most of the locals are occupied in tourism, agriculture, retail, and public services. Kalabaka over the past 3 decades has become an important touristic destination for mainland Greece with close to 2 million visitors passing from the town and Meteora each year!
Don’t miss out on the town’s old picturesque district, with narrow cobblestoned streets and traditional houses, some of them built right next to the rocks! Join a walking tour of the old town with a local guide, to discover the town’s unique beauty and history!
Home-made sausages and top-quality meat, cheese, and yogurt are highly ranked in the gastronomical list of domestic products. Don’t leave this region without trying a variety of home-made pies – the local specialty! Combine your dish of preference with a glass of house wine or a few tsipouro shots and… if you survive all the above, why not taste the regional pudding (spatula) or some halva for a sweet aftertaste?
Local Purchases in Kalabaka
Kalampaka has a long tradition in the production of hand-made, wood-carved objects, but also in the making of religious icons that are painted by domestic artists. Some of the workshops are located outside the town’s center. Also, take a look at the local variety of embroideries, the leather-sandals shops, and the local souvenir shops.
Kalampaka is 350 km away from Athens, 238 km away from Thessaloniki, and 146 km from Volos – three of the largest Greek cities. The archaeological sites of Delphi and Dion are 3 hrs and 2 hrs away respectively. For sea adventures, the village of Achillion is 2.5 hrs away, where you can catch a boat to the island of Skiathos. Alternatively, take a trip to the “Golden Beach” of Katerini which is 2hrs away.
For the lovers of mountains, Greece’s highest mountain, Olympus, is also only 2 hrs away. Check out our organized Day trip Tours for more details. For local escapes to the surrounding Pindos mountains, please refer to our special Outdoor activities section. Contact us for more information!